The next week, I had to write a paper about Renaissance Prostitutes. It was due at midnight on a Friday and I'd been so busy during the week that I hadn't had time to finish it. The same night, my ward was holding a chili cook off and, since I was on the activities committee, I needed to be there. Lucky for me, the party was on campus, so I went in, helped set up, and then left the room to type up my paper.
I felt really flustered, partly because, when I was getting ready, I had the thought that everything was about to change and that, for some reason, that night was going to be really important in my life. Cheesy, I know, but people have those kind of thoughts all the time, so I brushed it off and went on with my day. Still, I wasn't too keen on the idea of spending half of my night outside a party, writing a paper about prostitutes, even though I'd picked the topic less than a week before.
About an hour into the party, I finished my paper and walked into a room that was screeching the Happy Birthday song to Andrew Chandler. I loaded some chili into a bowl, sat down with my friend Geoff, ate, and then found Kendra. She and Andrew were fairly good friends so I went with her to tell him "Happy Birthday!" and then I talked to everyone standing around us. I still thought Andrew was insanely cute, but I was getting pretty tired of the way he'd talk around me like I didn't exist.
I just realized it sounds like I was obsessing over whether or not Andrew talked to me. I wasn't. I hadn't even developed a crush on him yet. I just thought he was really cute and it kinda bothered me because I didn't like being ignored (because, really, who likes to be ignored?).
After a while, the party started dying down and most of my friends had already left. I leaned against the table next to the dance floor and I heard a rustle next to me.
"Hi," Andrew Chandler said.
I was a little (okay, really) surprised that he had come up to me, but said "Hi!" back.
If I was surprised then, I was shocked when Andrew started talking up a storm, telling me all about his mission, telling me all about his experiences with our mutual friends (he'd been mission companions with a boy I grew up with), telling me the kind of music and movies that he liked, and blushing deeper and deeper red whenever we realized we had more in common. Before I knew it, an hour and half had passed, all of the decorations at the party had been taken down, and my face hurt from smiling, laughing, and talking with more enthusiasm than I ever had before.
"What's he doing tonight?" Kendra asked me as Andrew put away chairs or broke down a table or something dreamy like that.
"I have no idea but I'm sure he has plans. It's his birthday," I replied.
"You should invite him to the movie night tonight," she suggested.
I shrugged my shoulders, turned back to Andrew and said, "Do you have plans tonight?"
"No," he said, blushing more.
"We're going to one of our friend's apartments to watch a movie after this. Want to come?"
"Sure!" He said quickly. "I brought my car tonight. Do you want a ride there?"
I told him that we had my car, but that the apartment we were going to was at our complex anyway, so he could just meet us at our apartment in five minutes. Which he did, texting his friends to cancel his birthday plans in the process.
Just like our conversation at the party, the rest of the night was a blur. Even during the movie, we couldn't stop talking. He told me that his mom called him "Anj" and we laughed about funny nicknames. He told me random stories about his childhood and we scooted closer and closer to each other as we kept talking. We watched part of "The Truman Show" at Kendra's friend's apartment and, afterwards, the three of us went to our apartment, I baked Andrew cookies at 11:30 at night and we watched "Meet the Robinsons" (something we do on all of his birthdays now). Kendra and I sang "Happy Birthday!" to him while he blew a candle out of one of the cookies (he kept the candle) and my face felt like it was melting because all of the talking, laughing, and sharing that flew between us so easily. I couldn't believe that I was having such a wonderful night with someone that I'd never even considered as a prospect, besides how cute he was. I loved the gap in his teeth and when we shared a blanket on the couch, secretly wished he would put his arm around me. He didn't but he did scoot close enough that we were touching (!!!) and he whispered to me during the movie.
Then, it was time for him to go home, so I walked him to the door and...
He high fived me.
Then he walked out the door, without even hinting that he might like to see me again.
"You like him!!!" Kendra laughed at me.
"I do not!" I laughed back.
"You totally do! You like Andrew Chandler!"
"Whatev, Kendra," I replied, "I just met him!"
And then I walked into my bedroom, shut the door, curled up in my bed and fell asleep five minutes later thinking that I had just had one of the best nights of my life, even though he high fived me and even though I had no idea if we would ever talk again.
I didn't know it yet, but I was already a goner.
Wedding photography by Lovelight Photography.